VACATION IDEAS

12 Most Beautiful Lakes in the World

These 12 lakes go to all the right extremes—highest, deepest, clearest—and showcase nature at its most spectacular. Soak up the views from a boat, a cable car, a trailhead, or a castle tower.

SLOVENIA
Lake Bled
Why not get to the good stuff right away? To take in this Slovenian lake's most breathtaking vista, head immediately to Bled Castle, at the edge of a sheer, 460-foot-high cliff. You'll see mountains in every direction—the Julian Alps and the Karavanke range—and below, the Alpine lake and its main attraction, Bled Island, a tiny forested circle that's home to the 17th-century Church of the Assumption and its prominent baroque clock tower. Down on the lake's shore, board a pletna boat (similar to a gondola) to the island. Be sure to ring the church bell and make a wish before returning to the mainland. Mountains shield the water from icy northern winds, so Lake Bled is warm, relatively speaking (79 degrees Fahrenheit). If that's still too chilly, head to the lake's northern section, where three hotels have built pools around natural thermal springs.
Nearby: The Slovenian capital of Ljubljana is an easy 35 miles away.

A SHORE THING

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